Please what would be the one piece of advice you would give a lefty to help his game?
A great question that I often talk about at my clinics. The best thing you can do is to learn the sidearm! Most people are right handed and they design most of the courses. As a result, there are more holes that favor a left turn throws than the other way around. Since a hyzer is easier than an anhyzer (turn-over) shot, if you learn the sidearm, you wont be forced to thro the more difficult shot more than your competitors.
I have been playing Disc Golf for about for about 16 years, and I have always wanted to learn side arm. This Winter I decided to work on this part of my golf game and I have been doing alright. I was out playing last week with a friend that has a great sidearm, and during a couple of my sidearm attempts he told my that I Rex-ed my shot. I am not sure what this means and what I would do to fix this problem? I figure that it is a problem because my shot's where this term came up did not turn out good.
Rexing refers to a sidearm throw where the elbow was kept too close to the body. I call it that because the thrower looks like a T-Rex with its short arms dangling in front.
The reason most players do this is that many articles have been written that tell the player to keep their arms close to the body during a sidearm. This is the biggest technique misconception in disc golf.
The only time your elbow will be close to your body on a sidearm will be when you throw a hyzer shot (it is also helpful when trying to increase the spin to speed ratio, but this is far more relevant to throwing non golf discs like those used for Ultimate or Freestyle). This would be when a right handed thrower angles a sidearm to leave their hand already turning right. Rather than thinking of keeping your elbow close to your body, focus on leading with the elbow.
I go into great detail for throwing this shot on the soon to be released sidearm video. Like most of these descriptions, a video is worth a thousand words.
1. I have always been told that you should throw the slowest disc that will just get to where you want go to create the largest margin for error. In your video you demonstrated this concept using a putter, midrange and fast driver (large hyzer approach). Given any possible line to the target do you agree that the slowest disc should be thrown and is this your practice in general?
Absolutely! Creating the largest margin of error and key to succeeding on the course. If you are playing easier shots than you opponent you have a huge advantage.
2. If you agree with #1 above, then if you needed to make an UPSHOT and had plenty of fairway room would you throw the slower disc even if you had to turn away momentarily so you could get enough on it? Your other option would be to throw a faster disc which would enable you to keep your eyes on the target but also opens up the possibility of a blowby (I assume you would choose the faster disc if the upshot was tight).
Thee are always exceptions but this is normally the case.
3. When I throw an UPSHOT I try not to "show" the bottom of the disc to the wind. I figure that if there is a wind gust or my judgment is poor and I throw too hard my margin for error is larger this way unless I need to "carry" over some obstacles. How do you prefer to shoot your upshots?
The most successful players in the approach game will always choose to throw low and straight for these shot. Not only is this the best way to play the wind, but is also gives you a better chance of nothing out of the ordinary occurring on your landing.
I have been having trouble getting enough pinch on the disc. I keep my arm relaxed during the swing and then tense (pinch) and lock the wrist just before release but the pinch just isn't what it should be. Every once in a great while I will get that loud snap sound as the disk rips from my hand (and flies 50' + further) but I can't seem to make it happen consistently. Normally the snap is minimal. I use a power grip. Do you have any suggestions about how to maximize the pinch?
This is one of those hard questions to answer without seeing your grip but I'll give you a few ideas and maybe one will stick.
First, try tightening your grip a little sooner. You are right not to grip the disc tight too early but if you are waiting too long then it may explain the inconsistency in your release. Tighten your grip right when you begin the swing forward.
Another idea would be to play around with slight modifications in how you grip the disc. For example, if the edge of the disc were to rest right between the first and second knuckle of your index finger then try sliding it into the groove of the second knuckle. Or visa versa. When you try a new grip you'll want to give it a few rounds as any change will seem awkward at first. There is no "perfect grip" that is best for everyone due to the fact that we all have different shaped hands, so experimenting to find what's best for you is important.
Great site! It's really, really cool with a bunch of great information!
Anyway, something I do that is pretty much completely opposite most people is that I tend to like my fingers (index and thumb) damp when I grip my discs for drives. This allows me to keep a firm grip on the disc without it feel like it's slipping out of my hand. This is especially true with candy plastic. I've noticed that most other players use "birdie bags" and things like that to keep their fingers and hands dry. My question is this: Does using the "damp finger method" take away from the amount of spin the disc has by allowing me to grip the disc too hard? FYI, I use the four-finger power grip, use essentially your "turn around" run-up (with full extension reach back), and I can throw consistently close to 400 ft.
If the "damp finger method" works for you then use it! Just like everyone's hands being different shapes, everyone's hands have different textures as well a natural moisture levels.
Mike Sayre, one of the two best players ever from Texas, has always had a bad case of exema and uses hand lotion to moisten his hands enough to grip the disc. If most of us did that it would be impossible to throw but it is what he needs to do.
I noticed on one of your pages, you referred to three shots called hook-thumb, tomahawk, and grenade. I've heard of the tomahawk, but not the grenade or hook-thumb. Are these also overhand shots, and if so, would you describe how they are thrown?
My friends and I (perhaps wrongly) refer to overhand shots as either a tomato or pancake, the first being an overhand throw with the thumb on the inside, and the second being an overhand throw with the finger(s) on the inside. Is this correct, or are these words some slang we picked up on a local course somewhere?
Finally, I've found I like throwing an old X-Clone for "pancakes." I've found I like the speed and durability of the disc for such throws, but it doesn't seem to go nearly as far on "tomatoes". Is there a reason for this? Do you have a cheaper alternative to Z-XS's for "tomatoes"? I like the idea of using a durable disc, but I have had a hard time isolating the important factor(s) in choosing a disc that will get me a long, high overhand shot that will go to the left, and come back right.
The Tomahawk is gripped like a sidearm with the fingers inside the rim, then you lift your arm up and throw it in an overhand motion. You may or may not release the disc upside down but to be considered a tomahawk, it must become upside down during its flight.
A hook thumb is thrown with the disc reversed and the thumb placed inside the rim.
A grenade is a regular backhand throw with the disc beginning its flight upside down.
As far as the names go, there hasn't yet been one universally accepted name for either of these throws. It seems to depend on where you live. For example, I've heard the "pancake" referred to as a Hammer, Tomahawk, Two Finger, Flop, Upside Downer, and Overhand. "Tomato" is a new one to me but I'm going to start calling the hook-thumb that because it's more fun.
The reason that "pancakes" fly farther than "tomatoes" is that you can start them vertical or even slightly off vertical (right side up). Most of an upside down throw's distance comes during the early part of its flight before it reaches flat. After that it begins slowing down. I have seen exceptions to this but this normally seems to be the case.
As far as a cheaper version than the Z XS for this shot, I don't think there is one. Upside down shots hit the ground so hard that a Z disc will last ten times as long as a regular model so in the long run these would be less expensive.
Just bought your video #1, lots of great advice, good job. I have a few extra questions though. When throwing an anhyzer, do you keep your wrist straight or do you curl it up a little to get extra spring? I find that when I throw an anhyzer, I curl up my wrist a little but still keep it stiff, this way it helps it keep a constant line and it keeps it from hyzering out at the end. Also, do you have any recommendations as to what muscles to exercise to help with throwing? I currently work out now, but I would like to focus more on the muscles that are used in disc golf. I do target the following: abs, shoulders, forearms, triceps, biceps, and legs. I'm pretty sure I've got all the muscles used covered, do you think I'm missing anything?
You theory behind using more wrist on anhyzers is very insightful. When a disc runs out of spin it begins to tail off the opposite way. So having more spin would be useful to helping the disc keep its angle. This is a very advanced technique that all of the top players use but is seldom talked about. Is is also difficult to master, but the ability to throw shots that fly the same distance but have varying amounts of spin is a great weapon to have.
As far as what muscles to work out, I will very shortly be publishing a complete guide to working out and cross training for disc golf. It would be too long to try to answer here but I will tell you that the emphasis will be on whole body conditioning rather than specific muscle groups. There are of course certain muscles that are used more for throwing than others, but you can cause more harm than good if you overdue those muscles and ignore the others. I know this isn't the best answer I've given on this page but partial information here could wind up hurting someone. The complete guide however will cover it all from A to Z.
I want to buy the elite XS, but a friend has recommend the Z-XS. Are the flight patterns the same, given that the Z series is more durable, or, is there a big difference between them? Basically, I want the longest flight that I can get, and want to know if I would be giving up some distance going to the Z?
XS PROS: The XS flies farther than any other disc in the world. It holds almost every world distance record (including the Guinness Book record for the world's longest throw).
XS CONS: To fly far it has to be a very low profile, fast disc. The trade off here is a little durability. Meaning it beats up faster than slower discs like putters and approach discs.
Z-XS PROS: Because it is in the Z Plastic, this disc almost stays new forever. It may get a little dirty but its flight changes very, very slow as it gets broken in. I think it is a better golf disc for this reason.
Z-XS CONS: It flies slightly less far than the regular XS because it is a bit more stable. This just means that at the end of its flight it will tail off a tiny bit more than the regular XS which means that it is not as good of a distance disc.
When you say you try to keep your wrist straight throughout the throw to get the spring effect does this mean you keep your wrist flexed (as opposed to loose) the whole time?
Keep it flexed only enough to make the spring technique work. If it is too loose then you will get very little from your wrist as it will flip back and forth much too easily. If it is too flexed then it will stay straight throughout the throw and not add anything either. There is no measurable amount of perfect tension for everyone. Just experiment and you will see the difference between too loose, too tight, and just right!
When you say to grip the disc firmly are you pinching it only or are you holding it tightly to your palm or both? Further are you gripping it tightly the whole throw or only just before release?
This is a great question/observation. I grip it tight with my fingers yet pull it in to my palm firm yet not too hard.
When doing the final plant step of the x-step approach are you pushing off with the left foot or are you more using the legs as a base to release energy from the hips?
Part 2 of this question is the more important one. I stay relaxed all the way though the throw and only grip it tight during the pull forward. This relates not only to the grip but with every part of the throw as well. You want to keep everything relaxed and focus on the explosion of power coming only at the very end. If you tighten up during any other part of the throw then those flexed muscles will restrict your motion when you need it most, at the end.
I definitely push off with the left foot. Think of a baseball pitcher. He'll push off with his back foot and created forward momentum. Then when he plants his front foot and stops, it will transfer the energy elsewhere (in this case his throwing hand). When throwing a disc you are essentially doing the same thing.
Adding a run up will created more forward momentum that you can then transfer into energy by planting/stopping. This is why every professional outfielder throws a ball faster towards home plate than a pitcher. With just one step they could not.
I heard you were doing martial arts. A couple of questions:
1. What discipline? Both my kids are currently in Tae Kwon Do and my wife and I are just starting. I'm hoping this will help me in my off season and improve my endurance when I start back up in the spring.
2. What do you think martial arts helps with most? body control? strength? endurance? what?
I'll humbly answer this question by first saying that I'm far from the authority on this subject. I can only offer the opinion of a student not a teacher.
I've studied a few years of Judo, a few years of Jiu-Jitsu, and am most recently (about 4 years) practicing Tae Kwon Do. I'm starting up with Jiu-Jitsu again for fun but Tae Kwon Do is what I most think helps with cross training for disc golf.
Tae Kwon Do, or any of the striking arts (i.e.. Karate, Kick Boxing, Tang Soo Do, etc.) will help with flexibility, strength, focus, power, and balance. Other arts that emphasize more hand to hand combat as well as ground fighting (i.e. Judo, Aikido, Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, etc.) are awesome as well for what they are, but I don't think they are the number one choice if someone were joining solely for disc golf cross training.
With all this in mind and so many different schools to choose from, I always offer this piece of advice when choosing your art. It really doesn't matter which style you choose. It is more important which teacher you choose. Their style of teaching, more than any other factor, will determine if you stick with the classes for years rather than weeks (less that one percent of students study for 5 years or more). Classes within the same art can vary from a very disciplined traditional teaching style to a relaxed club atmosphere. One teaching method is not better than any other. Everyone has a different personality and will learn better from one teaching method over another. Almost all schools will let you take a class or two for free. Take advantage of this and try out a lot of classes before settling on one. If you were in a class and were not happy with it, try another school. Keep trying until you find the one that is right for you.
More important than anything is what studying martial arts will do for you mentally. If you are happy and balanced in your life you will play better golf (or at least enjoy it more). This can be had with whatever art you choose as long as the school and teacher is right for you.
(This part is not related to disc golf but worth mentioning whenever discussing this topic.) Finally, the question of which art is better for self defense will always come up when trying to choose an art. The answer is all of them. Different fighting styles favor different situations. A striking art like Tae Kwon Do may not be as useful as others if someone grabs you and pulls you to the ground, however, an art that emphasizes ground fighting is not as useful when fighting multiple opponents. Again, the best martial art to study is the one that you will actually show up for class for and practice. No matter how good the style and teacher, if you only show up for 6 months of classes you really will only learn enough to get yourself hurt.
When putting into a head wind with some distance (15ft or more) between you and the basket (RHBH). Do find it easier to put with a bit of anhyzer? I myself have found that the head wind does not carry the disc up and away nor throw it off line unlike putting straight into it. What are your thoughts on this?
This is a great observation. I don't necessarily putt with an anhyser but I will put the nose up a little. This helps it keep its height and also slows it down when I mss. I will cover this more in the "putting" video.
When I take a month off from disc golf, I feel just "off" when I start to practice again. Can you give me some tips on improving this. Thanks.
This one is easy, don't take time off! Sorry, couldn't resist. Actually I have the same problem. I take every Winter off to let my body recover and when I start back again I'm WAY off. This is why I don't go to Winter tournaments. I'm just not one of those players who can find their game after a layoff in a day or two.
So unfortunately my only answer is to plan on being off for a little while when you come back. Don't pick up a disc for the first time in a month the Friday before an event.
One thing to consider is to start off slow. I've noticed that after a layoff my mind remembers how to tell my body to throw far, but my muscle development isn't still there to handle the stress if I jump back in full speed.
One last idea. Cross train as much as possible. This won't get you "on" after a break but it will keep your body from feeling "off" as long.
I currently putt with a 175g Aviar-x putter but I have noticed a lot of people around me putt with 150g putters. I have been reluctant to switch to this weight because I figure the wind will affect it a lot more. What weight putter do you use/recommend?
I always suggest that players putt with heavier discs. I prefer the maximum weight for my Magnet Putter (175g). There are two reasons for this. First, I don't want a putter that will carry too far past the target when I miss. Lighter discs float so well that they will do this. Second, like you already figured out, the lighter the disc the more affect the wind will have on it. Putting in the wind is hard enough as it is.
I noticed that most of the recent distance records have been set with discs in weights from 168-170g typically. My question is, when throwing for max distance on the golf course what weight disc would you recommend a typical player throw. I realize this may be a two part answer as wind plays a significant role. Please supplement this answer with what weight YOU typically throw.
Lighter discs won't cut through the wind very well but will glide more at the end of their flight. Heavier discs are good for cutting through the wind well but don't glide too well. Choosing the best weight for distance shots is all about finding a middle ground between these two. In general, discs weighing in the mid to high 160's will fly farther than those under 150g or over 170g.
However, for disc golf I don't recommend choosing a weight based on how far it will fly. Choose the weight that is easiest for you to control. If your shots fly 10' farther with a lighter disc but are more often in the rough, then you've gained nothing.
I prefer maximum weight discs for all my shots. Now I understand that throwing far might not be as much of an issue for me as it is for others but I throw max weight discs regardless of the course. There are 10,000' courses out there where throwing far is a huge advantage but I still won't break out my 167g XS's because the extra distance just doesn't make up for even a little less control.
I have been studying various golf tapes of pro's driving trying to improve my form and a question came to mind. I typically put a little anhyzer on my drives to let the drive "S" a little (TEEBIRD's) which gives me a little more distance. To do this I bring my arm down on the follow thru. I also use this technique when throwing my ROC's for straight shots. Is this the best way to do this? I ask because I have not seen any of the pro's do this. As a side note: I use this technique so often it is currently permanently built into my swing and is hard to compensate for (I have to lean over a lot) when I need to throw a slight hyzer with a lot of power. This trailing down with arm in my follow thru causes and light weight discs to turn over right big time. My guess is that I either need more practice learning to go back and forth between follow through's or I shouldn't do this at all unless it's an anhyzer shot.
You always want to pull the disc straight. The only time to pull your arm down is on the follow through of a pure distance throw. This is because for this throw you will give the disc a lot of elevation yet need to keep the nose of the disc down. I cover this a lot more on Video #1.
Get on my disc golf e-mailing list. Use my contact form and put "subscribe" in the subject line.